We awoke to a quiet but sunny morning. I guess there were no takers on the morning ferry. At least none showed up at the car park. I couldn’t even see any crazies coming from the direction of the ferry after slogging their way through the Glen. They present as tiny dots about halfway up the mountain slowly moving horizontally, right to our left, climbing over stone pasture walls on a slope of 30 degrees or more. Tough going but they join the official trail about half way up the mountain, right before the path kicks up almost vertically. It must be really disappointing. No takers today. What do they know that we do not?
I imagine all you Escapees knew we were going to do it but I wasn’t so sure. I have to confess that any nervousness I may have felt has been replaced with anticipation at what we might discover. This drive to see what I might see has gotten me into trouble more than once but then again I’m still here and willing even if my knee is not.
Hiking poles, boots, tracker, puffy jackets, sandwiches, small amount of water, too heavy for more and we’re off. It’s a bit of a hike just to get to the trailhead.
We immediately start climbing and then the switchbacks begin. We’ve already gained a lot of altitude and the vastness of the Rackwick Valley stretches off into the distance.
This hut is where the Glen trail and the car park trail join forming the steepest section of the trail.
Finally we’ve reached the plateau at the top of the mountain, where it seems like it can’t decide wether it wants to go further up or down so it does a little of both while skirting a dizzying cliff side drop off.
A standing stone and a cairn seem to mark something significant, maybe half way. One of those pebbles is mine.
Soon a glimpse of what I assume is the Old Man, although Marce isn’t so sure.
Turns out it’s a lot further than it looks.
Huge stone blocks form an especially torturous kind of quasi staircase.
Still a way to go and the wind is picking up.
Finally we meet the Old Man of Hoy.
Yes that’s Yours Truly, your intrepid reporter verifying that it’s definitely windy out on the point.
After lunch we noticed the Orkney ferry doing a spot of sightseeing.
After 45 minutes or so of profound appreciation we sadly wished the Old Man well and began the trudge home.
The trail continued to deliver amazing panoramas.
Tail dragging the gravy we clambered back into Escape Velocity after setting an age-adjusted blistering pace. Overall it took just under four hours, and I’d never change a thing. What would it mean if we didn’t even try? You have to try.